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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This carefully timed trip all began on Tuesday 11th January at 5:04am



Unfortunately I wasn't able to get 3 days off together so I it was work till 2pm. Arrived at work at 6:47am



After a busy morning at work, lucky I was allowed to finish early at 1pm. Dashed home to have a shower and get my stuff together, it was off to the airport!


Giving the contuining pandemic, the airport remains empty





Some nice pictures showing Dublin Airport from times gone by




My flight to London will be aboard this Airbus A330



My first visit to London, I looked at travelling to East Midlands with Ryanair, but the only flight didn't suit time wise and getting a train from London looked like the best option.

Time to get on board!




Giving my love of aviation, it was quite a treat to have a A330 on such a short flight! I think there was only about 20 or so people onboard! After about an hour in the air, we landed in Heathrow



Now it was a dash to catch the Underground!



First time using the Underground, absolutely fantastic! Travelling on the Piccadilly line to Kings Cross Station.

Less than an hour on the tube, arrived at Kings Cross Station



Catching the 9pm Newcastle LNER Azuma to Newark Northgate to Newark-On- Trent






Departing 9pm sharp, we set off into the night. An hour and forty minutes later, we arrived at Newgate Station

Train Vehicle Rolling stock Transport hub Automotive lighting

Sky Transport hub Automotive lighting Building Stairs


Went outside to catch a taxi. Got chatting with the Taxi driver, Alex, who was familiar with the institute. After a short drive, we finally arrived at Upton and the B&B where I will be spending the next two nights.

Watch Banana Analog watch Saba banana Clock


After a long day travelling, it was time for bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Day:2
Too excited to sleep, it was finally time for breakfast!



Where I was staying was like something straight from the movie "The Holiday"








I was staying at The Oaklodge in Upton [Link] Jacky and her husband were very friendly, have had others staying with them attending the course. Staying here was worth the trip itself! After admiring the beautiful sunrise, it was time to check out Upton





After a short walk, I got my first glimpse of the BHI






After enjoying the beautiful sunrise, I left the cool crisp morning and headed in to the Clock House Cafe for a warm complementary coffee. I met my fellow classmates for the day, aged in their 60s from across the UK. In total, there would be six of us in the class. After chatting watches, our teacher for the day greeted us.

James Welbourne would be our teacher for the day, with a great sense of humor, it was time to enter the classroom.

My workbench for the day! Complete with all the tools I would need!



We started off by introducing ourselves, how we got into watches and what we hoped to achieve from the day.

My goal was to find out if I had any abilities at all! James talked us through the different parts of the movement, using models to show their functions. After watching countless hours of repair videos, I was excited to try it for real!

The first thing we had to do was to draw what we could see, something watchmakers had to do before camera's



This was something I really struggled with as I can't draw and as mentioned used to videos for reference. For the first part of the day, we would be focusing on the keyless works to get used to using the tweezers and screwdrivers. Also gave me a chance to try out the clip on eyeloop I picked up at the fair in Birmingham last year.

After sticking with pictures, I began disassembly





The odd swear word could be heard as springs/ parts pinged off into space! Most of the morning was spent on our hands and knees looking for lost parts! Lucky I managed not to lose any and got everything reassembled correctly
Dishware Tableware Drinkware Cup Serveware


At 1pm, we stopped for lunch. Egg sandwich and a slice of cake were included in the price of the course

Food Tableware Sliced bread Ingredient Dishware


After lunch, we took a look at the Museum of Timekeeping

Product Display case Gas Machine Event

Watch Analog watch Clock Font Material property

Font Motor vehicle Vehicle Parallel Wood

Picture frame Wood Building Architecture Cabinetry


James gave us a guided your of the exhibits. With the tour over, we headed back to the classroom. Now it was time for the fun part, removing the balance!

After James demonstrated the technique, by using the channel cut into the plate, it looked easy, but required a very steady hand!

Body jewelry Creative arts Art Jewellery Circle

Watch Hood Azure Automotive lighting Gadget


Thankfully I didn't damage the hairspring as many have done. After carefully placing it back in, I was relieved to see the movement still worked!


The best moment in watchmaking, to see the movement come to life!

As a quick celebration, decided to try to recreate the picture in the BHI coat seen in this great post [Link]

Watch Hand Photograph Analog watch Fashion

At least the coat is in focus! :0
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
With time to spare, I had a go with the timegrapher, brought along the Timex given to me thanks to a member of a local forum




Definitely in need of a service! Also put the Bell on it as well

Watch Analog watch Clock Everyday carry Silver

Gadget Measuring instrument Font Display device Audio equipment


James also showed us some quartz movements along with the tuning fork used on the Omega F300 "Hummers" Incredible technology but now I know why they are difficult to service!

After an exciting day, sadly it was time to end. My goal was to see if I had the dexitary required for watchmaking and lucky I wasn't disappointed! The day gave me a taster and I left wanting more! It has now giving me the confidence to go ahead and get some tools to practice which is something James stressed the importance of, Practice, Practice Practice!!!



With a fun day behind me, it was time for a hot chocolate and bed

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Day:3
Starting off with another fantastic sunrise




After another lovely breakfast and a shower, it was time for my journey home. Thanks again to Jacky and her husband for their hospitality. Lucky I had gotten the number from the taxi driver Alex for the ride back to the station




A beautiful train trip across the English countryside we arrived back to London's King's Cross Station




As mentioned, never been to London before, my first port of call was to the Hard Rock Cafe as I collect the pins and the very first location was in Old Park




A quick Google reveled there was also a location at Piccadilly Circus which was my next stop




After reaching the Piccadilly Circus location, got chatting with the girl there who informed me there was a third location! After picking up another pin, it was another trek to the final location. The Hard Rock Hotel was the latest addition






After all that walking, it was time for some food



With my stomach happy, it was time to head to the airport





The flight home, aboard an A321neo was just as empty as the flight out


Blue Motor vehicle Automotive design Head restraint Vehicle

Atmosphere Automotive lighting Road surface Asphalt Mode of transport


Thanks to a tail wind, we arrived 20 minutes early.

Conclusion:

A week on, it still hasn't sunk in! An incredible opportunity! Such a shame there isn't still a college in Ireland anymore offering the same courses as I'm sure many would attend. I was always afraid of investing in tools before being shown how to use them, it was great to have someone there to show the correct methods. Far exceeded my expectations!

Hopefully, all going well, I will be returning to the BHI in February ,7-11th for a more extensive week long course, service and repair of manual wind watches which I'm extremely excited for!

Thank you,

Keith.
 

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Great adventure. Thanks for sharing. Love the comment about swear words coming from the room as parts pinged off into oblivion LOL. Been there and done that. Hope they taught you how to use Rodico. One of the best tools in the watchmakers arsenal.
 
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Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

I took a five-day Intro to Watchmaking course in February of 2020 at the American Watch and Clock Institute. We did a full tear-down and build up of a manual wind movement. After a year or two of tinkering on my own, self-educated with advice from internet forums, videos, and books, it was definitely worth my time to have some hands-on professional instruction.

edit Nice Bell!
 

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If your enthusiasm is anything to go by Keith and having spoke to you at a couple of the watch fairs I believe you will do well in the WIS world, great trip and write-up.
 
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Thank you for sharing, it’s an awesome adventure that you did!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Thank you for posting your interesting tale and glad that you came away with more confidence. I am looking at doing something similar later this year and it's reassuring to know how good they are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi All,
Just after getting back from the BHI after completing the week course in Service and Repair of Manual Wind watches with John Murphy.

It was absolutely fantastic! Haven't had a chance to do a separate post here yet, but here's a post I did on a local forum of the weeks fun!


After completing the course, come to the conclusion that this is something I really want to do. Looking at moving to the UK giving there's no longer a school in Ireland offering training.

Going to be attending an open day at Birmingham City University on March 26th to see what they have to offer in their Horology degree, more details Horology - BA (Hons) - 2022/23 Entry

Also have been in contact with the British School of Watchmaking regarding a visit.

Huge Thanks to everyone for all the support!

Thank You,
Keith.
 

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If at the end your skills match your enthusiasm Keith then you will be one of the best, fingers crossed for you.
 
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